And when we say we want to know a little bit about them, we’re not referring to the spiel that the candidate and their team are busy spinning. Oh no! We’re talking about going the extra mile – as all good cleaners and forensic investigators do – and pulling out the sofa to see what’s lurking behind and beneath it!
And this is what our small cluster of spiders have found in their search for more information about “Offshore” Angela Richardson, the Conservative candidate for Guildford & Villages, who wants to fill Anne Milton’s shoes!
As it happens, there wasn’t much dust under Mrs Richardson’s sofa — but something potentially unpleasant was lurking under a stone in her husband’s rockery?
According to our Cranleigh Cluster, in 2009 Mr Angela Richardson – AKA Jeremy Bruce Richardson – became a member of an outfit called ‘Keepstone’, a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) formed to invest in creative selling, e.g. “of rights to a song or idea for a book.”
Under said scheme, members – like Mr Richardson – “invested” significant sums of money – much of it borrowed from Banks (not that we’re suggesting Mr Richardson had to borrow, we’ve no idea how healthy or otherwise his bank account is) – in the hope of “significant benefit.”
At the time, Limited Liability Partnerships were a popular tool for wealthy individuals – such as Gary Barlow and Chris Moyles (more of whom later) – to, well, not to put too fine a point on it, to dodge tax! That was until HMRC won a few high profile court cases against them – referred to as “Icebreaker” cases!
To cut a long story short and for those who don’t have the time or inclination to follow the link above, over their morning coffee, the Courts found in favour of HMRC who claimed the schemes where designed purely for tax avoidance purposes with most, if not all, of the ventures unlikely ever to make a profit!
In Keepstone’s case, the Limited Liability Partnership was formed in October 2006 and, therefore, one would normally expect the first financial year to end in October 2007. However, for some reason, this latter date was subsequently changed to 5 April 2007, which just happened to coincide with the end of the 2006/7 tax year. Well, it would, wouldn’t it?!
According to our researchers, Jeremy Bruce Richardson – AKA Mr Angela Richardson – was a partner in a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) called “Keepstone LLP” https://opencorporates.com/officers/194721384.
Mr Richardson’s involvement in Keepstone ended in 2015 – the year after the HMRC “Icebreaker” Court judgements. Quelle surprise!
Are we being a tad mean? After all, Mr Richardson might have been as gullible as Messrs Barlow and Moyles claim they were. And, by way of explanation, he might also claim, as they did, that he didn’t really understand what he was investing in, he just did what his accountants and financial advisors recommended …
Trouble is, unlike Messrs Barlow and Moyles, Mr Richardson was married to Angela, whose CV (see below) reads like that of a woman who knows her way around a balance sheet and a tax return:
We can’t help feeling that given Mrs Richardson’s former profession she would – or should – have recognised a tax dodge when her husband stepped – or stumbled – into one!
As we continued our search it appears Angela ran something called “Winnard Limited” from 2002-05. For we know not what? The industry code for Winnard say Industry Codes 80.42: Adult and other education.https://opencorporates.com/companies/gb/04423277
Looking at her husband’s page here https://opencorporates.com/officers/40022688 we can see the sidebar with “Similarly named officers” which shows a couple of other companies. We can only really match on names because that’s all that Companies House can give us (they don’t make any attempt to prove identity or match officers to a particular person).
One way to tell whether an LLP was probably used for this purpose is to look at the list of partners. In the case of Keep stone LLP, we can see a reference to “Lothbury Finance Ltd.”. This is the same “Lothbury Finance” which is called out in paragraph 47 of this judgement https://www.wilberforce.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2014-UKFT-416-TC.pdf where HMRC is pursuing a bunch of related LLPs for their attempt to dodge tax.